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TTU News

Published: Tue Nov 1, 2011


Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Rhodes will talk about nuclear terrorism as this year’s speaker for the annual Stonecipher Lecture on Science and Society. The talk will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, in Tennessee Tech University’s Derryberry Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

The author of four books about the development of atomic and hydrogen bombs, Rhodes will speak about the threat of terrorists using nuclear weapons, or that acts of terrorism could be committed in places where radioactive materials are present.

“His talk is going to be more of a general overview of nuclear terrorism: what is it, can we prevent it, how real is the threat,” said TTU chemistry professor Dale Ensor. “So many times, a writer who is not a scientist doesn’t get the science right, but he’s taken the time to get it right.”

The talk is aimed at a general audience and will be followed by a reception and book signing. It also may be of interest to scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and to TTU students, Ensor said.

“The topic is something that is not normally covered in the classroom and will provide a different experience for the students,” he said.

The author of a wide range of books and plays, Rhodes has written books about topics as varied as John Audubon and the Holocaust. The first book in his nuclear trilogy, “The Making of the Atomic Bomb,” won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, a National Book Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award.

He has received grants from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation Program in International Peace and Security and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He is an affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.

The Stonecipher Lecture series at TTU was created to fund the appearance of leading scholars and thinkers to address the interrelationships between science and contemporary society. Harry Stonecipher, a 1960 TTU physics graduate, is a former president and chief operating officer of The Boeing Co. He also worked for major industrial firms including General Motors, General Electric, Sundstrand and McDonnell Douglas.